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"Putting the 'Heart' in Heartland:" Assistant Secretary January Contreras Visits the FEC

"They're putting the 'heart' in 'heartland," said January Contreras, Assistant Secretary at the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after visiting the Full Employment Council.

Contreras and her team met at the 1740 Paseo location for a tour on June 2, as well as a roundtable discussion on workforce development in the Kansas City region. "We relish the opportunity to speak with the Assistant Secretary Contreras on how HHS programming works on the ground," said Clyde McQueen, President and CEO of the Full Employment Council. "We really appreciate the system that is integrated between TANF, which funds the Missouri Workers Assistance (MWA) program, which we've worked in partnership with the Local Investment Commission (LINC) for the last 25 years, as well as the innovation that has been provided with the Jobs League Program, where we place youth year-round into internships to provide them with an insight into career opportunities. We also appreciate the innovation that the State of Missouri has provided with SNAP and other social programs."

Contreras also met with Alain Nunez, an FEC client and now employee, during her visit. Nunez started with the Full Employment Council as an unemployed youth who had not graduated from high school. Additionally, he had very little supports, which can often make a person's journey to success more difficult. He began a paid internship through Jobs League, at the FEC, working in information technology. The experience gave him the chance to explore a career, gain work experience, and earn money. Nunez impressed everyone he worked with at the FEC, and was offered a job. He recently passed his HiSET exam, earning his high school equivalency, and continues to work with the FEC. (Read Alain's story here.)

"Alain is why we do what we do here at the Full Employment Council," said Shelley Penn, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

For more on the Administration for Children and Families, click here.

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